First year contingent promises bright future for handball in DCU

This year’s trip to the United States brought DCU’s handball club to Phoenix, Arizona. DCU was represented in both doubles and singles. This competition saw five of the seven competitors from DCU come from first year, a sign of a promising future for the club.

In the men’s singles competitions DCU was represented in the Open Plate, A1, A2, C1 and C2 divisions by Kevin Diggins, Niall Joyce, Ben Devlin, Alan Hevehan and Neil Hannigan respectively. Diggins had lost his first game in the Open to be dropped in the Open Plate where he won against Minnesota State’s Matt Job.

Unfortunately for DCU, Kevin’s singles tournament ended here as he had to pull out of the semi-final due to an injury to his shoulder early in the first game. Niall Joyce also won his first game with relative ease against David Schiller. Joyce made it as far as the quarter final against eventual winner Ricardo Palma who defeated him 21-17, 21-10 in the Men’s A1.

Ben Devlin won both his preliminary games, promoting him to the next grade. With a comprehensive win in his first game against SBU’s Jimmy Ji, Devlin was faced with UCD’s Emmet Landy in the Men’s A1 quarter final. A very close game between the two brought them to a tie-breaker where Landy managed to take the win 21-14, 16-21, and 8-11.

In the Men’s A2 Cian Ó Dálaigh started off winning in a tie-breaker against Alex Birge of MOST. Cian was then matched against UL’s Liam Bradshaw who managed to beat Cian in yet another quarter final defeat for DCU.

Alan Hevehan who was representing in the Men’s C1 lost in very a close game versus MSU’s Zack Timmerman 21-17, 16-21 and 8-11.

Neil Hannigan, a new-comer to the world of handball, won three successive seeding games moving him up two grades. He was faced with a tough opponent in C2 where he lost to John Conte of ASU, who went on to win the division.

Meadhbh Ni Dhálaigh was the only representative in the Women’s divisions from DCU. Starting off in the Open, she defeated Gretchen Gregory of MOST. The next game was the quarter final. Meadhbh lost against MUN’s Leslie Amminson, which ended her competition short.

DCU had more luck in the men’s doubles with Cian Ó Dálaigh and Ben Devlin in the Men’s A shrugging off doubles pairs from ASU, UCIN and a strong pair from UL in the shape of Hurley and Bradshaw. They met BC’s doubles team Woo and Lau in the final. They won the first game with ease 21-4, then BC came close in the second game with 21-17, which wasn’t enough to overcome DCU’s Ó Dálaigh and Devlin, winning them the gold medal.

DCU was represented in the Men’s Open by Niall Joyce and Kevin Diggins who got a bye in the first round, but came up against a strong team with Esser and Langmack from MOST who ended DCU’s run in the Open. DCU’s final doubles team, Neil Hannigan and Alan Hevehan, were unlucky to lose to Mogavero and Van Swol from UI.

The pair showed great chemistry despite it being their first time playing together. They put on a good show for the spectators with the match ending 21-18 and 21-17 against them.

While some of the players may have been disappointed with their performances in the tournament, this was still a positive outcome for the Handball club. Given that five of the seven DCU representatives have three further years of eligibility, this competition has laid down a good marker for success in years to come.

Corey Fay

Image credit: DCU Handball Club